Baldwin May Be Civilly and Criminally Liable - Law Professors

Civil Negligence is Clear, But Criminal Liability May Be a Reach
 
WASHINGTON - Oct. 25, 2021 - PRLog -- Actor Alec Baldwin, who killed one person and seriously injured another when a gun he was holding on the set of the movie "Rust" went off, is almost certainly civilly liable for negligence, and could even face criminal charges, say two law professors who are also successful litigators.

Baldwin is so clearly negligent - simply for pointing even a gun believed to be "cold" at people, and perhaps also for other reasons - that he likely would be found legal liable if a civil suit were to filed against him in his individual capacity, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who teaches the law of civil liability, and has been successful in high profile civil cases.

Baldwin's actions likely make him civilly liable for the tort of negligence because he did not act as a reasonably prudent person, and take reasonable steps to reduce the clearly foreseeable risks inherent in handling any gun - even one he may have reasonably believed to be "cold," incapable of firing, unloaded, etc. - because a fundamental rule regarding any gun is to never point it at another unless you intend to shoot him, says Banzhaf.

Several Hollywood gun safety experts agree that no actor should ever point a gun at another human, even if he believed it to be safe.  For example, Hollywood firearms consultant Bryan Carpenter put it this way: "Loaded or unloaded, a weapon never gets pointed at another human being."

Banzhaf emphasizes that Baldwin would be found civilly liable even if there were others who were even more negligent - e.g., the armorer, the assistant director, etc.  - since accidents can be caused by the negligence of several different people; in which case any person whose negligence contributed to the accident can be held liable for all of the resulting damages.

In addition, Baldwin might also be civilly liable in his role as a producer of the movie who may have ignored prior instances of a gun discharging on the set (which he presumably would have known about), complaints of violations of established safety standards on the set by crew members, hiring an inexperienced "armorer" for a movie involving a significant amount of shooting, etc.

But so long as it is clear that Baldwin did in fact point a gun at others - even if he reasonably believed it to be benign, and even if somehow he did not intend to pull the trigger - his violation of the fundamental adage of never pointing even an unloaded gun at another would seem to make him clearly liable, argues Banzhaf.

http://banzhaf.net/   jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com   @profbanzhaf

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